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Hawks face Dundas on Sunday for Fan Appreciation Day

Close but no cigar could be the motto for the Hastings Hawks baseball team for the 2016 season. With a win and a pair of losses, the Hawks moved to 10 wins and 18 losses on the season. On Wednesday, July 20, the Hawks lost by the score of 6-5 to Baseball 365, the No. 5 ranked team in Minnesota Class “A” baseball. The Hawks defeated the Randolph Railcats by the same score on Friday, July 22, but then dropped another close one to the Lake City Serpents on Sunday, July 24, 7-5 in 11 innings. The Hawks have been in 16 one- to two-run games this summer, winning eight of them. Hawks manager Shawn Matson is beyond remotely frustrated with the lack of ability to finish games.

“It just comes down to not making the mistakes that we continue to make,” Matson said. “At this time of the year, we need to make the plays and take advantage of our opportunities to put runs on the board.”

Against Baseball 365

Spencer Diedrich led the Hawks offensively going two for three with a double, a walk and was also hit by a pitch in the 6-5 loss. Wes Hedlund also went two for three with a double and two walks. T.J. Galenti collected three RBIs for the Hawks. Max Bundschu started on the mound and went six solid innings, giving up four runs (only one earned) on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Sam Skoyen came on in relief of Bundschu, throwing two and one-third innings issuing two runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout. Dennis Reinhart closed out the game facing two batters, striking both out. The difference in the game was six errors the Hawks committed attributing to three unearned runs.

“One inning we give up three unearned runs with two outs,” Matson said. “Then we get guys on and leave them in scoring position. Hard to win with six errors.”

Against Randolph

The Hawks were able to flip the switch against Randolph, taking advantage of a few Railcat mistakes in the late innings to come away with a 6-5 win. The Hawks were also aided by some solid pitching from Nick Horsch, who went eight innings issuing three runs on seven hits, six strikeouts and three walks. Beau Jernberg relieved Horsch and got roughed up, giving up two runs on one hit and a pair of walks bringing the Railcats within one run of tying the game in the top of the ninth. Matson made a quick call to the bullpen bringing in Diedrich, who closed the door to earn the save.

“Horsch threw really well and kept their batters off balance,” Matson said. “He didn’t have a lot of help from our offense, so it was really a good thing that he had his stuff working.”

Offensively the Hawks were held to only four hits but were able to cash in on seven walks issued by Railcat pitching. One of those hits was a two-run blast by Diedrich. Jordan Jeske led the Hawks going two for two with a double, a pair of walks and two runs scored. Jake Dale connected for the other Hawks hit and added an RBI.

Against Lake City

The Hawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over the Serpents, holding the lead until the top of the fifth inning when Lake City tied the game at three. Lake City then took a one-run lead scoring another run in the top of the seventh inning, but the Hawks surged for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to again take a lead. This lead was again short-lived as the Serpents tied the game once again with a run in the top of the eighth inning. Despite chances and having a runner in scoring position in the eighth, the Hawks were unable to score and then the wheels fell of the cart in the top of the 11th inning with two outs. A throwing error by Jernberg, pitching in relief of Spencer Kopp, to first base gave the Serpents life. That was followed by another Hawk error putting runners at the corners, which was followed by a base hit giving Lake City all they needed to take the victory. The Hawks certainly did enough things to win knocking out 13 hits during the contest. Jeske, Galenti, Dale, Tony Hammes and Hunter Hillstrom each had two hit games. Kopp threw seven innings scattering giving up four runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. Jernberg took the loss giving up three runs (none earned) on two hits, no walks and a pair of strikeouts. Jeske came in for mop up duty, but the damage was done.

“Again, this game was as winnable as many have been for us but our mistakes gave it away,” Matson concluded. “It’s frustrating to all of us. We just need to put it behind us and move forward. This team is capable of winning the close ones. We just need to figure out how and soon.”

The Hawks face St. Louis Park on Friday, July 29, with a first pitch at 7:30 p.m. and then face the reigning Minnesota Class “B” State Champion Dundas Dukes on Sunday, July 31, at 2pm for Fan Appreciation Day. Both games are at Veterans Park in Hastings.